1) Don’t be Afraid to Talk to Strangers No, I don’t mean go make friends with a hobo, but there are plenty of welcome events at the beginning of school, so chat up everyone you meet! As a Freshman, you are probably going to be moving into a dorm where you know virtually nobody. Yes, the thought of that can be scary, but when you look at it as a way of meeting hundreds of new people (who are also looking to make new friends), then all of those new faces you meet in your first few weeks aren’t so scary anymore. Remember, college is a networking opportunity. Each person you encounter in college is a potential new friend and connection you might need down the road when you are applying for jobs or need a favor.
2) Go to Social Events Whether you rush a frat or sorority, or join a club, or just go to school sponsored socials, get out of your dorm room! There are so many experiences to be had in college. It’s your first time not having to ask mom and dad if you can go somewhere, you have no curfew, and you can make choices of your own. Surround yourself with people who understand you and have a little fun.
3) Go to Class Unfortunately, college isn’t just about making new friends and living the independent lifestyle. You (or your parents) are paying a lot of money for college. Let’s face it, college is one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make in yourself. When you think about how much you’re paying per class, it makes that 8 A.M. biology lab a little more bearable (not completely, but a little bit). And if you miss one class, you are a lot more behind than you think you’ll be.
image via briff.me
4) Explore your Options If you don’t know what you want to major in, that is perfectly fine! I know in high school that your parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and everyone else probably told you that you needed to have it figured out. But the thing is, you don’t know until you try. I started out as a biochemistry major thinking I wanted to be a dentist; in theory it was a good plan, but in reality I absolutely hate science. It’s the most boring thing on the planet in my opinion. So I started taking random classes and decided business is the route for me. You are going to change your mind (possibly 4 or 5 times) so if you don’t know what you want to do (or even if you do) try a few electives in something you’ve never done before and you might find your new passion.
5) Find a Hobby Whether that hobby is Netflix and popcorn or riding your bike around town, you need something to do when school is weighing down on you. If all you do is study, you’re going to eventually wear out your mind. When you just can’t get through another page of The Grapes of Wrath for your English 101 class, you need a go-to hobby that can put you back in your happy place and help you unwind. You can even try something new. In the midst of finals week my freshman year, I discovered I liked to knit. So during study breaks, I knitted scarves. It really helped me refocus and relax, and I also ended up with some great winter gear!
6) Cheer on Your Team Whether or not you are a die-hard sports fan, you need to experience the madness of tailgating and singing the school fight song 50,000 times during a game. College sports are bigger, better, and crazier than any high school games you might have gone to. Having thousands of people all screaming for a touchdown and singing off tune to your alma mater’s fight song oddly enough helps you feel an emotional connection to everyone around you. Also, your classmates who are on the sports teams love having their peers cheering them on, so go and support them!
image via studentconduct.ncsu.edu
7) Call Your Parents This one sounds like a no-brainer, but your parents really want to hear from you. Yes, you are a strong, independent person who has your own life to attend to now, but your parents still view you as their baby, and they always will. They are going to be home worrying about you constantly. So even if it’s a short conversation on your way to class, just call them to say hi and let them know you’re okay. It will mean more to them than you would expect.
8) Be Responsible Sure, it’s easy to say you’re an adult now, but acting like one is what matters. Keep up with your things, keep your room clean, and make sure you’re eating healthy and taking care of yourself. Just because you can eat doughnuts for every meal doesn’t mean you should. And be responsible when you go out. Always have a buddy when you go to parties so that way you know someone knows where you are and can get you home safely if you’ve been drinking.
9) Explore the Area You are living in a brand new city. Be a tourist. Go see what all your college town has to offer. There are plenty of hidden gems in every town, whether it’s a small coffee shop only the locals know about, or a private spot in the park where you can do homework, there is something out there waiting to be discovered!
And make sure you never take a moment for granted, they weren’t lying when they said these are the best days of your life.